Hav­ing trouble with your sus­pen­sion set­tings? This in­cred­i­bly clever tool could help you – for a price.

Australian Geographic Outdoor - - Outdoor Bike Lane -


RRP $529 (sam­ple on­line price, Aus­tralian re­tailer) WEIGHT 45g (head unit only) INFO quarq.com TESTED BY Tim Rob­son

DATA ac­qui­si­tion is an en­gi­neer’s best friend, es­pe­cially when it comes to set­ting up a sus­pen­sion sys­tem. Get­ting that data from, say, a car is pretty easy, but for a bike, it’s a tougher propo­si­tion.

And it’s worth con­sid­er­ing that when a bike costs the bet­ter part of five or six grand, it makes sense to try and get the best per­for­mance pos­si­ble from it.

A young Aussie en­gi­neer has come up with world­beat­ing tech­nol­ogy that can help to quickly and ef­fi­ciently set your sin­gle or dual sus­pen­sion bike up with op­ti­mum set­tings in a frac­tion of the time it used to take.

Nigel Wade is a young me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer from West­ern Aus­tralia, whose idea for a data reader has gone from a suc­cess­ful Kick­starter cam­paign to be­ing picked up by Amer­i­can com­pany Quarq, which in turn is part of the SRAM em­pire. He’s now a full time em­ployee of SRAM, and he still lives in Perth (look up Dusty Dy­nam­ics on Face­book to see more).

His ShockWiz de­vice is a sus­pen­sion mea­sur­ing tool that mea­sures sus­pen­sion be­hav­iour of air-sprung forks and shocks, send­ing that data via Blue­tooth to a phone app that can sug­gest ways of tweak­ing set­tings to make the sus­pen­sion work more ef­fi­ciently for a given ap­pli­ca­tion.

For ex­am­ple, the app can be con­fig­ured to of­fer ad­vice for a soft, a bal­anced, or an ag­gres­sive tune, with sug­ges­tions for air pres­sure, re­bound speed and even the internal spring curve of the sus­pen­sion part.

The ShockWiz is zip tied to the bike and the unit at­taches via an air hose. The more data it gets, the bet­ter its ad­vice is, and we found that at least of 30min of solid rid­ing gave the best re­sult. An easy to de­ci­pher app then of­fers ad­vice on which way to tune the fork or shock.

We tested the ShockWiz on a X-Fu­sion Sweep fork un­der our 15-year-old speed­ster Max at a re­cent event at Thredbo. Start­ing with the fac­tory set­tings of 60PSI of air pres­sure and mid-way set­tings on all other set­tings like re­bound and com­pres­sion, it took two runs down the same trail to pro­vide a full read of data.

Sug­ges­tions were ac­tu­ally min­i­mal, which tells us a lot of sus­pen­sion ills can be cured straight off the bat via cor­rect spring sag set­tings (gen­er­ally, sus­pen­sion should ‘sag’ when the rider is on the bike, and no more than 15 to 20 per cent of to­tal travel should be used up as sag. Adding or sub­tract­ing air pres­sure from the air spring con­trols this). We sped up the re­bound rate (the speed at which the fork ex­tends back from be­ing com­pressed) and slowed down com­pres­sion a tiny bit, and Max de­clared him­self happy with the re­sult.

It also worked well with a burlier ver­sion of the X Fu­sion fork called the Met­ric, al­though we lacked the parts to fully tune the fork as the ShockWiz sug­gested.

Down­sides? The ShockWiz does need to be cal­i­brated ev­ery time it’s at­tached to a new de­vice. It’s not at all hard, but is a bit time con­sum­ing. As well, you’ll need to make sure that your fork or shock is com­pat­i­ble with the ShockWiz. It won’t work on coil spring units, for ex­am­ple, or a hand­ful of air­sprung forks that use a dual-air spring (there aren’t too many of those, though). We also had a bear of a time mak­ing the An­droid ver­sion of the app work with the ShockWiz, though the iPhone ver­sion hooked straight in.

Granted, this is high-end stuff for most av­er­age users, and the phys­i­cal cost of the unit will re­strict its use to bike shops and the like. How­ever, if you have, say five sus­pen­sion units in your garage (two du­al­lies and a hard­tail), or a cir­cle of mates who are also keen to im­prove the per­for­mance of their big dol­lar rigs, then the ShockWiz is a great ad­di­tion to your tool box.

The Shockwiz mon­i­tors the fork's air pres­sure via a di­rect con­nec­tion (top) and sends data via Blue­tooth to an app on the iPhone (above).

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